Going Back To Athens – Day 1

Saturday, March 14

Follow the leader. Well today, L.E.A.D. is following our Executive Director Kelli Stewart. She was born in Atlanta and raised in Athens, GA. She graduated from Cedar Shoals High School in Athens and was a standout cadet in the JROTC under the leadership of Sgt. Sonny Fincher.

Today our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors were led through a JROTC obstacle course to prepare them for the obstacles that they will continue to face in their lives. Sgt. Fincher was joined by LTC Eric Cleveland and 1SG. Antoine Clark who currently serve as the leadership of the Cedar Shoals High School JROTC.

Childhood was not easy for Kelli at all. JROTC saved my wife and Sgt. Fincher is a hero. He gave Kelli to me in marriage and I grateful that The Lord still has him in our lives.  He’s a good man.

Before the fun began, here are a few quotes that these three men shared that provide great context for the obstacle course.

Thank you for sharing this one Sgt. Fincher. “Life is tough. Life is even more tough when you are stupid.” -John Wayne

“Doing the right thing may not be the popular thing. Leaders do the right thing all the time.” 1SG Antoine Clark

Authority exists because the people in authority cares about you. The authority figure doesn’t exist to give you a hard time. Don’t fight authority – use them. They are a tool for you to use. -LTC Eric Cleveland


There is one way up and one way down. I was 25 feet high. From 25 feet, I could see what my teammates couldn’t see that were on the ground. -L.E.A.D. Ambassador Jaquavious Gaither, New Schools at Carver

Wall Climbing

I had to trust myself. The wall represents life. The backpack represented racism. I got over the wall with the backpack on. -L.E.A.D. Ambassador Jarrod Rome, Benjamin E. Mays High School

Monkey Bars

The monkey bars are like life. Life can be slippery and you have to tighten your grip and move forward. -L.E.A.D. Ambassador Jatavius Ponder, New Schools at Carver